Around 20 high-ranking executives at corporations such as Subaru of America, DHL, Citigroup and Northwest Airlines will get a surprise when Fortune magazine arrives on their desks this week. Each will find his or her own face gracing the cover.
The covers are one-of-a-kind mock-ups wrapping the actual Fortune edition, part of an advertising play conducted by information-technology company Unisys that brings new meaning to the idea of niche marketing. Unisys is sending the magazines to get the attention of executives — mostly chief information officers — responsible for making buying decisions about their companies’ technology products and services. In other words, the people Unisys most wants to influence.
If an executive flips over the mock Fortune cover, he or she will discover a letter — also individually tailored — from a senior Unisys manager describing challenges in the target’s specific industry. The Fortune “cover wraps” also offer personalized Web addresses, where the executives can find mock news videos that mention their names and tell how they achieved business success. To reinforce the message, Unisys is placing billboards and outdoor signs — albeit without information-chief portraits — close to the executives’ offices. Some ads will even appear on video screens in the elevators of their office buildings.
If Unisys is unable to get a pitch in with these executives, do they really think invasive advertising is going to change that?